(Washington Times) – Sen. Rand Paul has taken to the floor of the U.S. Senate and is vowing to stay there “at length” in order to filibuster John O. Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to be the next CIA director.
The freshman Kentucky Republican has said he will hold up the nomination until he gets more information about the U.S. drone execution program, which has become a major sore point for many lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
“I will speak today until the president responds and says, ‘No, we won’t kill Americans in cafes. No, we won’t kill you at home at night,’” Mr. Paul said.
Just hours earlier, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. testified to a Senate committee that he believed it would be illegal for the government to kill an American who did not pose an imminent threat to security.
But he could not rule out the use of drones on American soil altogether, saying only that he doubted it would happen because it’s easier to capture people here.
The U.S. extrajudicial execution program has come under increasing scrutiny this year after some of the administration’s legal justification for the executions — most often carried out by drone strikes on targets overseas — leaked to the press.
Members of both parties on Capitol Hill have raised concerns about the program, which started under President George W. Bush and which Mr. Obama has greatly expanded.
Mr. Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Mr. Obama will deliver a speech in the near future laying out the issues at stake and asking for a public debate on the underlying principles.
Mr. Holder also said, though, that he is not sure Congress could ban the president from using drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil, saying that would likely run afoul of the Constitution’s grant of powers to the president in Article II.